Each day, my class gathers at our classroom rug for our literacy block. All month we have been reading books by Dr. Seuss, and today I am introducing the class to the book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.
Who remembers the name of our author for the month of March? That's right. It is Dr. Seuss. His real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, and today I am going to read his first published book to you. When I say published, that means that this is the first story that Dr. Seuss wrote that was made into a book. Today's book is called, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
It is a story about a boy named Marco that has a great imagination, but sometimes his imagination gets him in trouble with his father. Marco loves to exaggerate--that means that he likes to take little ideas and stretch them into big stories. Listen to what Marco's dad says, “Stop telling such outlandish tales, Stop turning minnows into whales.” What do you think this means?
We have a conversation about this idea and then I read the story. Be prepared. In typical Dr. Seuss fashion, this story twists the tongue in all sorts of directions. By talking about exaggerations, I can start to explore the language of comparatives like big, bigger, biggest.
After I have read the story, I focus in on a couple of sections to show how Marco exaggerates. I do this to help the children better understand what they are listening to. The sections I highlight focus on comparative adjectives. By teaching comparatives to kindergarten children, they get a better understanding of how language works to describe something.
I point out that at first the cart is pulled by a horse, but that isn't interesting enough, so he imagines that it is pulled by a zebra, then reindeer, and then an elephant. I put these pictures on the board so the children can make a comparison.
In the beginning of the story, Marco sees a cart being pulled by a horse. Who can remember what he thought would be more interesting at first? Yes, a zebra. Then, what did he imagine next--a reindeer. Then he imagined a...elephant. When I line these pictures on the board, what do you notice about them? The zebra is big, the reindeer is bigger, and the elephant is biggest. Look at these words to describe the animals: big, bigger, biggest. What do these words have in them that is the same? b-i-g. These words compare the sizes of the animals. I understand better why Marco exaggerates because the bigger the animal, the more interested I am in hearing the rest of the story.
Next, we compare the cart, sleigh, band wagon, and use the words heavy, heavier, heaviest. Once again, we compare how the words themselves are similar. The first word becomes the base and as the size changes, we add -er and -est. We also look at words that do not represent items getting bigger, so that the children understand that it compares at all levels: small, smaller, smallest; thin, thinner, thinnest; light, lighter, lightest.
At the board, I have draw three boxes. In the first box, I drew a small tree and wrote the word tall. The second box has the word taller, but no picture. I ask for a volunteer to draw a picture of a tree to represent the word taller. The third box has the word tallest, so then I have one more child draw that picture and we compare the representations to see if the word and picture match. I explain that the children will be doing a similar activity at our word work center later on. The reason I have a couple students help me with the drawing is so that I get a feel for whether or not the concept is being grasp by my students. If there is a total mix-up, then I know that my students are not ready to move on in the lesson.
Thinking about what we were discussing, I am going to give you a paper that has some comparing adjectives on it. Do your best to sound out the words and look at the picture clue. You will cut out the pictures and match them to the words by putting them in correct order. Remember that the pictures do not always have to get bigger; they may get smaller.
The children will complete a Mulberry Adjectives worksheet to compare adjectives that I purchased from Faith Wheeler on TeachersPayTeachers. It was part of a set created by her.